Race Weekend Central

Potts’s Shots: The Penalties of Deliberately Crashing Someone … or Not

After our comments last week about the current princess, it’s interesting that we get a question from Dianna Bogue.

“I was just wondering if there is or will be a penalty for Danica Patrick after her retaliation on Sam Hornish Jr. in the Nationwide race at ‘Dega? Is it still against the rules to deliberately crash someone like that? Hmmm . ..seems I remember an interview she had some time ago when she said, ‘I am not a crasher.’ Those were her words .. .just sayin’ …”

OK, good question. First, Tuesday (May 8) is usually “penalty” day and since nothing has been announced by NASCAR, it does not appear as if there will be one other than a visit to the NASCAR hauler at Darlington this weekend. From what I saw of the replay, that should have been expected, as well as a visit to the truck by Hornish.

See also
Going Green: Racing, Not Wrecking Others Will Help Danica's Reputation

We’ve all heard drivers who are now TV commentators say that Talladega and Daytona are NOT the places to get even. I think were probably still going 150 or so when that happened. As far as a rule about deliberately crashing someone, I don’t think it’s called exactly that. It’s usually “rough driving,” “conduct detrimental to the sport” or “unsportsmanlike conduct.”

We black-flagged a Baby Grand driver for it on Saturday night after he came from the rear on a restart, planted his right front against the leader’s left rear, and then deliberately stood on the loud pedal to make sure he took the leader out.

As far as the retribution issue, that’s never a good idea, even though most of us understand what’s happening. It’s like football – the player who retaliates is almost always the one who gets caught.

In checking further into the incident, I’m told by some friends of mine in the open wheel community that Sam and Danica have some hard feelings that go all the way back to when they were both in go-karts. I can’t speak for the truth of that, but it would explain a lot.

The princess has a history in open-wheel racing of stomping off to another’s pit box when she feels like she has a complaint and at least once it backfired on her. This is another incident which I can’t swear is absolute fact, but from what I’ve seen of the people involved, it sounds logical.

And the account of it comes from someone who swears he was there. It seems that Danica decided to confront Milka Duno during an IndyCar event at Mid-Ohio and did her marching down the pit lane routine.

“When she got there, the response from Milka was “You want drama?”, followed by a slap with a wet towel.

Milka’s now racing in ARCA, of course, and I hope she gets a good ride in NASCAR sooner or later. She sounds like she has an old-school attitude, as her response sounds like something one of the boys back in the day would have done.

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Now I have a question for all the TV commentators and reporters on another subject. In the recent flap over bumper covers on the RCR and Penske cars, they keep referring to the “front nose.” Where else do you find the nose? About other body parts, I recall when we called the front panels “fenders” and the rear ones “quarterpanels.” Now they’re front and rear quarterpanels.

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My thanks to all the people who expressed their sympathies for the injuries I received in a fall from my van a couple of weeks back and which caused me to miss a week of writing. All of your comments and concerns were appreciated.

The best note came from my old friend Steve Stubbs, who said (and I’ve cleaned this up considerably), “Potts, since I have personally witnessed your frittering away at least 8.5 of your nine lives flagging figure-eight races, what’s this about letting some power chair try to take you out? Stay away from that damn chair, you know you don’t know nothin’ about machinery!”

Way to go, Stubbs. Make a guy laugh when he’s got rib injuries.

About the author

The Frontstretch Staff is made up of a group of talented men and women spread out all over the United States and Canada. Residing in 15 states throughout the country, plus Ontario, and widely ranging in age, the staff showcases a wide variety of diverse opinions that will keep you coming back for more week in and week out.

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